Sometimes I feel like our lives are bigger than us.

I only met Carolyn two days ago but I haven't been able to stop thinking about her since. She is infectious in the best possible way.

Last Christmas, Kesh and I decided we wanted to run a giveaway. If you won, you had to select another to pass the giveaway onto. Emails started coming within minutes and immediately, I realised this giveaway was bigger than us.

After just two emails, I couldn't comprehend how we would make a selection. Ultimately, we prayed, read and went with our heart. And our hearts lead us to Carolyn, who has Gastroparesis, a medical condition that is very unkind. Carolyn isn't able to eat and even the smallest sip of water causes nausea and vomiting. For this reason, Carolyn carries a backpack holding specially formulated nutrients that require a feeding tube.

I'm not worthy to tell Carolyn's story. I've only known her a few days but I do feel like I know her.

Kesh came with me because I wanted her there.

Carolyn's arms were held out as I walked to her door.

"How are you feeling," I asked, hopefully.

"Good, I'm feeling great," Carolyn replied with a genuine but pained smile.

"She's a great liar," Carolyn's husband, Stuart, laughed.

I knew Carolyn couldn't be feeling well. She was scheduled to go back to hospital two days after our shoot so that her feeding tube could be repositioned in her stomach. This would mean the creation of a new hole and the tube being stitched there. As well as this, we had previously rescheduled our shoot because Carolyn hadn't been feeling well for the better part of the year.

To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect. What I found was an immediate friend. I found love like I haven't known. I found happiness when there is every reason not to be. I found a powerful woman, with a beautiful family who love her. I found hope.

The day after our shoot, Carolyn told me that she had deteriorated and had to leave for hospital earlier than expected. And that's where she is right now.

On Facebook, I've seen her updates from the bedside. Even while in enormous pain, awaiting surgery, positivity abounds.

Please click play to view the slideshow.

I know that Carolyn would love to read any kind words you might like to leave here, on the blog.

Music: American Beauty - Thomas Newman (available on iTunes) and Skinny Love - Bon Iver (available on iTunes).


  1. Dear Carolyn,
    I wish you luck, peace and strength for your upcoming operation.
    May looking at these magical pictures Tim has captured of you and your beautiful family ease some of your pain.
    Elise X

  2. So I am a blubbering mess.... again..

    Carolyn, you are an inspiration for all Mothers out there.. your family are divine and I hope these pictures wash away all the pain.

    I think Tim's pictures can truly light up the world. I hope they do yours x

  3. What a truly inspiration woman and family.

    Wishing them lots of love and sending them strength x

  4. Hi Carolyn, we don't know each other but I just wanted to say how inspirational you are.
    I have a history of chronic pain and suffered for 3 years very badly- I was lucky to get past the majority of it and reading your story has put my own worries into perspective.
    Your attitude is incredible!
    these images are stunning Tim.
    wishing you wellness, peace and love.

  5. Carolyn and her family are amazing, inspirational souls. Thanks for sharing because it's so comforting to know there are people out there who persevere with positivity in the face of suffering. My best wishes go out to them, and so much more that I can't really articulate.

  6. Oh Tim, so beautiful pictures and such an inspiring story...

    Dear Carolyn, you are an amazingly strong woman. I know that you will find all the strength you need for all that lies ahead within you. You will cope with everything life throws at you. I am so happy for all of you that you can find love and support in your family. I wish you all the best and hope it gets better soon!



  7. Tim, your heart is definitely bigger than us.

    Lovely Carolyn - such beauty and soul in those eyes of yours. Best wishes for comfort and more of that wonderful family joy you get to experience every single day. Thinking of you. x

  8. Such an inspiring story of courage, strength and love. Thank you Tim for sharing it with us... really puts things into perspective.

    Carolyn, you are beautiful. What a gorgeous, happy family you have created together. Sending warm wishes for your upcoming operation. These images are sure to bring some joy into the hospital room.

    Claire x

  9. What a beautiful family and a great choice for such a special collection of photos. Carolyn may all things go well with your body and with your soul x

  10. How incredibly beautiful. I couldn't look away. You certainly are something special Tim x

  11. Stunning story told in pictures Tim. Lovely work as always. Best wishes to Carolyn.

  12. A beautiful family and such special photos to treasure. I hope that these images give you even more strength than you already have Carolyn. Bless x

  13. Beautiful Tim.

    Carolyn, I find it difficult to put into words exactly what I feel for you and your current journey.
    I wish you only the very best;
    and may the sun shine brightly always on you and your loving family.

    xx Tam

  14. So much beauty throughout every photo; gorgeous work Tim.

  15. I follow your post, Tim, I love your photography. However, I normally never comment. This time though I just had to. My daughter also needed to use a feeding tube for many years and although I cant know the pain and discomfort Carolyn is experiencing, I do know what a challenge it can be in one's everyday and that the pain can be terrible. Her positive attitude is wonderful and inspiring. I hope she is doing well, and that the operation goes smoothly. This is one of my favourites posts here so far...Beautiful photos of a beautiful family. Lovely :)

  16. Just amazing...

    Carolyn, you obviously have an adoring husband, and your girls are beautiful. They are your strength, focus on them to get you well. And Tim, the emotion you capture always astounds me! Beautiful x

  17. Carolyn, you are a vision of pure beauty and courage. As for those little girls. Those smiles. That wonderful strong husband. You really are an inspiration. I know I am a complete stranger, but I wish you strength, peace, comfort, laughter and good health.

    Tim, the world is truly breath taking through your lens.

  18. Beautifully captured, Tim.

    Carolyn: Love the kooky photos (the 2nd last image is a classic!). I hope these images bring you much joy + pleasure. Best wishes for you and your family in your journey ahead. xx

  19. Crying. This is something beautiful, this is something powerful.

    Carolyn, you are beautiful. You are a fighter. And you are an inspiration. Will be praying for you and your family throughout this time. The joy that you and your family have in the midst of this is something special. You all are wonderful. x

  20. Carolyn, wishing you strength and light at this time. Thank you for being so open to sharing your story. Your family are amazing characters and are I can only imagine the inspiration they must be to you. And Tim, thank you for using your heart to soul to show us all how beautiful the world is. I love your perspective and the way you capture, and why.

  21. How wonderful for you to do this give away Tim! Wonderful images! So great for Carolyn to have these images to keep and remind her of all the fun and joy her family brings her. Great family images to keep forever! Beautiful xxoo

  22. This made me tear up, too. Very beautiful. I especially love the photos at the beach.

    Carolyn, I do not know you but I can empathize with you. Being in pain and having to stay strong (and lie, as your husband said), it's hard work. I send you my best thoughts from up here in the US. May you recover speedily from this operation. hugs, mama.

  23. Carolyn, I too am one of Tim's followers, yet have never commented until now. The portrait of you, head to the sky, eyes closed is so beautiful, so real. I love and admire how Tim can capture the authenticity in people and tell their stories so beautifully. Both of you are inspirational in your own way. My best to you and yours as you continue your courageous journey. Peace and love...Rebecca

  24. A beautiful set of images of a beautiful family.

  25. Tim, I am continually amazed by the way you capture the real and raw beauty of people. Carolyn, I am always inspired by those who choose to live life fully even when circumstances make it so hard. Praying for comfort and continued grace through your journey. So glad you are surrounded by such a beautifully loving family.

  26. carolyn, you have such a gorgeous family and are obviously a very special person. my thoughts and prayers are with you today!

  27. AMAZING! what an incredibly beautiful woman with so much love around her. These photos are so perfectly honest and real. Praying for her comfort throughout her journey. x

  28. well done, these are gorgeous. be well, carolyn!

  29. Dear Carolyn,
    I am 16 years old, a complete stranger, and half way around the world in London, and you have inspired me so much with your smile and your strength. I have been ill for many months now, and seeing Tim's incredible pictures of you and your beautiful family have made me feel so positive. I hope so much that you will feel well again.
    You are amazing, Michelle xx

  30. Carolyn, you are awe inspiring. From the looks of your left wrist I thought you might appreciate this:
    Om shanti, universal peace, beautiful woman x

  31. I recognised Carolyn immediately as the beautiful customer who frequented a cafe I once worked at, not far from where she lives. She liked her hot chocolates scaldingly hot :) Back then she only had one tiny little baby with her. How that little girl has grown and now with a beautiful sister too!

    Carolyn, you impacted me all those years ago as being a strong, beautiful woman! Years on, I see that nothing has changed!!

    I'm thinking of you and sending all the love in the world to you and your precious family. xxx

  32. Beautiful spirits coming together create beauty...wherever they are. Thank you TIm , Carolyn, and family.

  33. A very worthy and amazing family story told through the eyes of an amazing photographer.

  34. i'm going to come back to this one.
    i fear my heart will completely dissolve if i watch now.

    back soon ~d.

  35. I am so blessed to call this amazing woman my Friend.

    Carolyn is everything Tim has shown in these images and more. She has the most amazing and loving family which Tim has so brilliantly captured. I'm not surprised so many people are touched by this family, they inspire all those around them on a daily basis. I just knew Tim and Kesh would see the amazing light Lynnie and Stu project.

    Must say, so very typical of Lynnie to have muffins waiting for Tim and Kesh! Lynnie may not be able to eat them, but I can bet they were the best muffins Tim and Kesh ever had!!

    Those two little cherubs... ahhh, their cuteness and giggles come right through here. The one of K sitting in the wicker chair inside and C with her Daddy... two of many that I just love. My absolute fave's though are of the four of them on the beach together. That beach holds so much significance to them.

    Through everything they have been through, this family stays together and strong with lots of laughter and a wicked sense of humour, as the second last photo shows. It cracked me up!

    Tim, yours and Kesh's generosity in giving this gift will never be forgotten by me. I know I'm biased, but these are some of your best shots ever, your heart is shown here just as much as Lynnie, Stu and the Girls. I've shed tears at your beautiful images before, but you had John and I doing the humdinger ugly cry at these!! Immensely beautiful!!

    A million trillion thanks for giving this gift to my friend Tim... and a million trillion thanks for shining a light on Gastroparesis. I pray for Carolyn and all those around the world suffering with this awful disease that a cure comes soon.


  36. What an amazing woman with an amazing family. Sending love and prayers her way.

    Tim, beautiful job as always.

  37. Believe in your own strength, and draw more strength from your beautiful family. My favourite photo is the second last one. Just beautiful Tim! All the best Carolyn xxx

  38. Tim, you capture emotions like no other. My thoughts go out to amazing Carolyn and her beautiful family.

  39. in those moments overwhelmed by discomfort and exhaustion and you wonder if it's worth it, please know that the thing that stood out the most to me in these pictures was your daughters' wide open smiles.
    i'm no psychologist but i am convinced that only children who are completely secure and deeply loved can have a smile like that as their default-happy-face.
    it IS worth it. your effort and joy-despite has been worth it. it shows. keep GOING.
    gratefully, Dee.

  40. Wow what an incredible story, the strength and love of this family really show through. Thank you Tim for sharing these beautiful pictures. And thank you Carolyn for letting us into your life for a day - wishing you all the best.

  41. Wow - Tim...You are a master of your art. A fabulous collection that I watched through a constant stream of tears. Lynnie is also my friend & your images, captured the essence of who they are. Just beautiful <3 Mel

  42. These images are absolutely stunning. What struck me, Carolyn, is how joyful your beautiful daughters are. That's a testament not only to the resiliency of children but to the joy you project and create for them. To do that in the face of your illness is really something. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

  43. My favorite so far, Tim. Beautiful and strong.
    Carolyn, you are a shining star, a beacon of light for those who think strength and hope cannot survive in any circumstance of life.

  44. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  45. What an amazing story and captured so beautifully . A beautiful and inspiring family with amazing strength .

  46. Such beautiful photos of a beautiful family! I especially love the goofy one in the woods. :D Carolyn, stay strong in the Lord. I will be praying for you, the girls, and your husband!

  47. Beautiful photographs Tim. Thank you so captured Carolyn, Stuart and the girls perfectly.

    We have just come home from visiting Linniepops in hospital..she is so thrilled with the slideshow.

    Thanks again


    Mum and Dad

  48. Tim, you've done a beautiful work.
    They're absolutely an amazing family.

    I'd like to say to Carolyn that she's an example of strenght, power and that she's a mirror for those who has problems and just can't think everything is gonna be alright. She's so beautiful and strong and inspiring.

    ... I'm speechless.

  49. Firstly, absolutely beautiful images Tim!
    Secondly, what a beautiful family, in every sense. Your photos have captured such enormous beauty, love, courage & strength.
    Carolyn, your story has moved me incredibly. You are amazing and inspiring. Your courage & strength shines in every photo. It is a true gift to have the love and support of family, especially when life throws curve balls. I suffer a number of chronic illnesses myself and live in pain daily but I feel blessed that, although I also have some major food allergies, I can eat. Your family is blessed, Carolyn - you are teaching your girls a wonderful lesson in life through your own adversity. They will grow up learning that even through adversity & pain, you can still live a life of joy, happiness, gratitude, strength... I wish you well and my prayers are with you and your family.

  50. These photos are beautiful Tim! Her optimism is truly inspirational and the photos you have taken of her family and her home are so lovely! Thankyou for showing us such beautiful photos! All the best Carolyn xo

  51. Oh wow, Carolyn!! I'm choking back tears for you sweetheart. You were a beautiful person when I knew you, as I'm sure you are now.
    I was bored and did a random google search for people I used to know and found this page. My thoughts are with you and your family my old friend. I hope you are well.